Wales' only Mounted Section on policing during the pandemic and training their horses

The officers and horses at Wales' only Mounted Section are out on patrol across different areas and communities across South Wales every day.

The Mounted Section is a vital part of South Wales Police's operations and the horses are trained for a wide variety of situations. 

Officers on horseback from the police force have an advantage in that they can get into places that officers either on foot or in vehicles would not be able to reach.

Officers Jody and Sadie - and their police horses Clover and Hamilton - are used to patrolling parks and beauty spots.

They are also able to help in the search for missing people, day-to-day crimes reported to South Wales Police as well as serious incidents.

PC Jody Millin told ITV News: "We've been used an awful lot during Covid for beach patrols. We're used to look for missing people because we can cover the ground quicker than officers on foot or sometimes officers that are in vehicles can.

"We've still been really really busy. We've just had slightly different things to do, so we haven't had the events which is normally sort of bread and butter this time of the year but we have been used an awful lot to access areas, to advice the public in relation to the restrictions."

The officers and horses are regularly seen out on patrol across South Wales.

PC Sadie James said: "It's been bizarre going from your normal crimes that you see out and about, antisocial behaviour, I mean, everything sort of stopped.

"That is creeping back in now and back to how things used to be with the restrictions easing, but it's been a completely different way of policing."

PC James also highlighted how important it is for people to see the officers on the horses out on patrol every day.

She said: "In every community we've worked, being on the horses we've always had the positive feedback of people saying it's lovely to see you and that they'd like to see more of us in the area.

"I think unfortunately people don't remember maybe two officers walking down the street as much as they would remember seeing a couple of police horses in exactly the same situation.

"Obviously we are police officers at the end of the day so we need to be out on patrol and having the horses as our transport makes everything a lot more fun."

PH Clover is partnered with more experienced police horses who can show him the ropes.

Patrolling areas across South Wales has also been good for the horses, in particular, four-year-old Police Horse Clover who is still in training and being shown the ropes.

PC Jody Millin said even being on patrol in parks and beauty spots has helped to develop his skills.

She told ITV News: "The last time we brought him here [to Bute Park in Cardiff], there wasn't many people here.

"He's had lots of people on push bikes coming past him and it's been great for his training because he loves people, so for him to stand, that's one of the most difficult things you can teach police horses to stand still, so for him to stand earlier and have all the children around him with the skateboards and the noise, you can just see that he loves the attention.

"I think sometimes he thinks that they're all there to see him, which is great, it makes my job a lot easier."

The horses get days off too, just like the officers, where they spend their time in the paddocks and stables at the Mounted Section headquarters in Bridgend.